Today, Canada announced a new pilot program under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to address the ongoing labour shortage in the country.
The announcement is made by Randy Boissonnault, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages in Delta, British Columbia
Canada launches a new Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) that will expedite access to labour for eligible Canadian employers while maintaining the highest standards for worker protections.
This will be a 3-year pilot program beginning next month, in September 2023, that will make it easy for employers to get an LMIA.
What is the new Recognized Employer Pilot Program?
The Recognized Employer Pilot (REP) will reduce administrative burdens and streamline the recruiting process for Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program employers with a history of meeting program requirements.
Prior to submitting a work permit application to engage a temporary foreign worker, the majority of employers must first submit a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
An LMIA confirms the need for a transient foreign worker and that no Canadians or permanent residents are available to fill the position.
In addition, it ensures that the employment offer is genuine and that the employer has complied with Program requirements to safeguard employees.
To participate in REP, employers must have received at least three positive LMIAs for the same occupation within the past five years from a list of occupations designated as in-shortage and supported by Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data.
Recognized employers will have access to LMIA validity periods of up to 36 months and, if necessary, simplified LMIA applications for future hiring of additional employees.
REP will be implemented in two phases:
- Employers in the Primary Agriculture stream will be able to submit applications for the 2024 season beginning in September 2023.
- Phase two commences in January 2024 and allows all other industries to participate.
The application period for both streams will end in September 2024.
Employers who are anticipated to meet REP eligibility requirements will be invited proactively to register using a dual-purpose LMIA application that differs from the standard LMIA.
Employers may request that the application be used to simultaneously submit for recognized status under REP and the LMIA.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) will determine eligibility for the REP based on the employer’s past participation in the TFW Program.
If an employer is not granted recognized status, they will still be eligible to utilize the TFW Program, and the Department will continue to evaluate their LMIA.
There are two methods to submit an LMIA and REP application:
- Through the LMIA Online Portal, a dependable and secure platform where employers can complete and submit an online application to ESDC; or,
- If the employer has legitimate exemption evidence for the LMIA Online Portal, they can email a PDF application form to ESDC.
The evaluation of a REP application will be based on the employer’s compliance history with the TFW Program and the frequency with which they use the Program to fill in-demand positions.
Employers who qualify can expect:
- a simplified application process for future LMIA applications for positions on the COPS list;
- fewer points of contact between participating employers and ESDC during the pilot due to simplified LMIA forms that allow employers to hire more Temporary Foreign Workers for genuine job offers during REP; and
- a Job Bank designation that indicates their recognized status in order to increase interest from prospective workers.